Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

LCROSS - Lunar Impact coming up 7:31 a.m. EDT/4:31 a.m. PDT Friday Oct. 9, 2009

LCROSS Lunar Impact 7:31 a.m. EDT/4:31 a.m. PDT Friday Oct. 9

A live NASA TV Broadcast is planned for the LCROSS impacts starting at
6:15 a.m. EDT/3:15 a.m. PDT, Oct. 9, on NASA TV and

The 1.5 hour broadcast includes:
Live footage from spacecraft camera
Real-time telemetry based animation
Views of LCROSS Mission and Science Operations
Broadcast commentary with expert guests
Prepared video segments
Views of the public impact viewing event at NASA Ames
Possible live footage from the University of Hawaii, 88-inch telescope
on Mauna Kea.
The live LCROSS Post-Impact News Conference will be 10 a.m. EDT/7 a.m.
PDT on NASA TV and

Geoff asked if the fuel used in LCROSS would contaminate the expected
readings when the upper stage of the Atlas crashes into the Moon.

The Centaur burns liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOX) so
sounds like a good question.

I didn't know the answer so went looking and I must confess had not
read the LCROSS blog site.

Here is their blog with a history time line and looks like they are
trying to make sure their is no water on the booster stage.
- LRK -

DOY 267 (September 24): Cold Side Bakeout #3 and a Test of the –Z MGA

Despite previous efforts to rid the Centaur outer skin of water on
Cold Side Bakeout #1 and #2, our Navigation team continued to observe
the accelerating effects of escaping water at the end of the second of
those events. With the amounts of water remaining, the Science Team
was no longer concerned that this water could interfere with water
measurements at Impact – there was just too little left. However,
Navigation was still concerned that remaining water might push our
Centaur off course in the hours before Impact, after Separation when
we no longer had any control over its orbit.

Recall that we had planned to execute Cold Side Bakeout #3 on DOY 234
(August 22), but our plans were thwarted by the discovery of the
anomaly. Cold Side Bakeout #3 was unfinished business that had to be completed.

In an unrelated thread, we also wanted to test the antenna we’d be
using for Impact. LCROSS has two Medium Gain Antennas (MGA’s), one on
the +Z axis, the other on the –Z axis, used to downlink high-speed
science data to Earth. We had used the +Z MGA during Lunar Swingby,
but had never tested the –Z MGA in flight. We didn’t want to discover
a problem with this antenna in the hours before impact, so we devised
a test that would expose any issues immediately, and that would couple
very nicely with Cold Side Bakeout #3.

The combined Cold Side Bakeout #3 and –Z MGA Test took advantage of
the fact that LCROSS was passing right through the ecliptic plane, the
plane of the Earth’s orbit around the sun. The LCROSS +X axis was
perpendicular to the ecliptic plane at the time, and so by rotating
about the +X (roll) axis, we could simultaneously face the “cold side”
of the Centaur towards the sun, and the –Z MGA towards the Earth
(required to test communications via this antenna). It was a
perfectly-timed opportunity.

On DOY 267 (September 24), we performed the maneuver. Unlike previous
versions of Cold Side Bakeout, we stopped the spacecraft twice, once
at 135 degrees rotation, and again at 225 degrees. The first position
pointed the –Z MGA (which is canted by 45 degrees) straight at the
Earth, and warmed one side of the cold skin of the Centaur. After 20
minutes, LCROSS rotated another 90 degrees, moving the MGA off the
Earth, and moving another part of the cold face of the Centaur into
full sunlight. We characterized one “slice” of the –Z MGA antenna
gain pattern, confirmed that it was operational and mounted according
to specification, and removed more water from our impactor.

One of the risks of Cold Side Bakeouts is that we might induce a
thermal instability in our thrusters, as we had in Cold Side Bakeout
#1, prompting our improvised fault management to fire the thrusters to
keep them warm (see the post entitled “Our First Orbit Around the
Earth” for details). Happily, our thrusters remained thermally
stable, and we avoided any additional propellant cost.

Welcome Posted on May 09, 2009 02:53:46 PM | Paul.D Tompkins
Welcome everyone to the first installment of the LCROSS Flight Blog!
LCROSS stands for Lunar Crater and Observation and Sensing Satellite.
It is one of two spacecraft launching to the moon in June of 2009, as
part of a coordinated effort to explore the moon in unprecedented
detail, in preparation for human missions in the not-so-distant
future. If you’re not familiar with the mission concept, I’d suggest
you start with our project website:


What you may not know is that LCROSS does not fly all by itself.
During our mission, a team, called the Mission Operations Team (or
Flight Team for short), will remotely operate the spacecraft from NASA
Ames Research Center in the Bay Area in California, as well as from
other operations facilities around the country and around the world.

My name is Paul Tompkins, and I’m the Flight Team Leader and one of
the Flight Directors for the LCROSS mission. In this blog, I’ll do my
best to describe what it’s like to be a part of this team. I’ll be
posting as often as possible as the LCROSS launch date approaches, and
during the mission to provide play-by-play updates of the mission.
Above all, I hope I can convey the excitement all of us on the team
are all feeling, and to get you excited about the moon!


First time I had seen the blog. Looks like an interesting read.
Nothing like the thrill of a good anomaly. :-)
- LRK -

Once More Around the Earth: September 4 - October 5 Posted on Oct 05,
2009 03:14:59 PM | Paul.D Tompkins
The anomaly robbed the LCROSS Flight Team of precious time to prepare
for Impact. But with a healthy spacecraft, and enough propellant to
do the job, our team was all too happy to prepare for the future.
Ahead of us were five more Trajectory Correction Maneuvers (TCM 6 –
10) to precisely refine our crater targeting, then Separation, Centaur
Observation, Braking Burn, and finally, Impact. In the midst of our
TCM series, the Science Team continued refining their selection our
target – the specific crater, and the point within the crater - based
on the latest data from other missions. As a final confirmation of
the payload instruments, the Science Team also wanted to look at Earth
one last time before Impact. On top of all that, we needed to
practice those final two critical days as much as we could.

DOY 247-251 (September 4 – 8): Housekeeping

Out of Emergency Status, we resumed operations gradually, monitoring
spacecraft health and performing typical housekeeping duties. Of
special note, as a result of the anomaly and our very small propellant
margin, we decided to substitute Earth Look Cal 2, originally
scheduled for DOY 250 (September 7), with a new, more
propellant-efficient calibration maneuver that we termed “Earth Gaze”,
on DOY 261 (September 18; see below).


Brings back memories I have of the Lunar Prospector Mission.
Marcie Smith wrote the lunar-update log which got posted to the
lunar-update list, and here we are, just a few years later. :-)
- LRK -


Automatic Email sender: During the mission the lunar-update list
provided weekly status reports. Now that the mission has ended the
list is no longer being maintained.

The complete Status Report archive in an Adobe Acrobat Reader PDF file.
LPStatus.pdf (255 kb PDF file)

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:


WASHINGTON -- NASA is inviting journalists to events this week in
Washington and California to observe the twin impacts of the Lunar
Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and its rocket's
upper stage as they impact the moon. The goal of the mission is to
search for water ice on the moon.

The satellite and upper stage both are scheduled to hit a permanently
shadowed crater of the moon, four minutes apart, at 7:30 a.m. and
7:34 a.m. EDT on Friday, Oct. 9. NASA Television coverage begins at 6:30 a.m.

NASA will hold a pre-impact media teleconference on Thursday, Oct. 8
at 2:30 p.m. from NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field,
Calif. NASA will provide a mission update and discuss what to expect
as the Centaur upper stage rocket and the LCROSS spacecraft impact
Cabeus crater, near the lunar south pole. Briefing participants on Oct. 8 are:

- Daniel Andrews, LCROSS project manager, Ames
- Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS project scientist and principal
investigator, Ames
- Jennifer Heldmann, coordinator for the LCROSS observation campaign,

Live audio of the teleconference will be streamed online at:

Ames also will hold a post-impact news conference at 10 a.m. on Oct. 9
in the center's main auditorium in Building 201. The news conference
will be broadcast on NASA TV and the agency's Web site. Briefing
participants on Oct. 9 are:

- Daniel Dumbacher, deputy associate administrator for the Exploration
Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington
- Pete Worden, Ames center director
- Daniel Andrews, LCROSS project manager, Ames
- Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS project scientist and principal
investigator, Ames
- Jennifer Heldmann, coordinator for the LCROSS observation campaign,

To participate in the Oct. 8 teleconference and the Oct. 9 post-impact
news conference, contact
Jonas Dino at 650-604-5612 or or Rachel Prucey at 650-604-0643 or

Also on Oct. 9, reporters are invited to the Newseum in Washington to
view the LCROSS impacts. The Newseum is located at 555 Pennsylvania
Ave., NW. Journalists should arrive by 7 a.m. There will not be an
opportunity for questions at the Newseum event, but reporters may
participate by telephone in the 10 a.m. news conference that will take
place at Ames.

Reporters interested in attending the Newseum event in Washington
should RSVP to Grey Hautaluoma at or
Ashley Edwards at

The NASA Exploration Center at Ames will serve as the press site for
the LCROSS impacts. The press site opens to journalists at 8:30 p.m.
on Thursday, Oct. 8, and will remain open until noon on Friday, Oct.
9. All accredited journalists must sign in at the Exploration Center
to receive badges and vehicle passes needed to gain access to the Ames
main auditorium for the post-impact news conference.

For more information about LCROSS, visit:

For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video information, visit:




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